• "I've had a pretty good run," said the 14-time major champ
• "Golf without him doesn't bear thinking about," said McIlroy
TIGER WOODS | RORY MCILROY
Rory McIlroy offered his support to Tiger Woods after the 14-time major champion gave the biggest indication yet that he is nearing retirement.
Speaking at his press conference ahead of the Hero World Challenge, for the first time the tournament host spoke negatively about his long-term future in the game, saying he has ‘no answer’ to when he’ll back swinging a golf club.
And that prompted a heartfelt Instagram post from fellow Nike athlete McIlroy, who last week expressed his concern about Woods’ health upon his announcement as a Ryder Cup vice-captain to Davis Love III next year, saying he ‘didn’t know what to think about it’.
"Golf without him doesn’t bear thinking about" - Rory McIlroy
“Wishing my idol and friend a speedy recovery,” he said. “Golf without him doesn’t bear thinking about. Hope to see you back on the course soon @tigerwoods.”
When Woods was revealed as a Ryder Cup vice-captain, he still had a shred of optimism that he’d be at Hazeltine in a playing capacity, saying ‘once I’m fully healthy, I’d like to try to make the team too’. And only six weeks ago, at an exhibition in Mexico City, he was still talking about eclipsing Jack Nicklaus’ major record, where he said ‘it took Jack his whole career to achieve it and mine is not done yet – I want to play at an elite level with the kids for a long, long time’.
But now, the outlook seems far bleaker for world No.400 Woods, who spoke frankly about his future having yet to begin rehabilitation following two back procedures this autumn – on September 16 and October 28 – which were performed in a similar area to the one he had on March 31, 2014.
“I really don’t know ,” said Woods, whose ‘highlight’ of 2015 was a top ten at the Wyndham Championship. “The hardest part for me is there's really nothing I can look forward to, nothing I can build towards.
"I've had a pretty good run" - Tiger Woods
“I think pretty much everything beyond this will be gravy. I've passed Jack on the all-time win list (79 to 73), just shy of Sam (Snead, 82). I've had a pretty good career for my 20s and 30s. For my 20 years out here, I think I've achieved a lot, and if that's all it entails, then I've had a pretty good run.
“But I'm hoping that's not it. I'm hoping that I can get back out here and compete against these guys. I really do miss it. But if that's not the case anymore, then I'll find other avenues, that being growing my foundation, golf course design and other projects I have going on right now that will certainly take up more of my time.”
Woods will celebrate his 40th birthday on December 30, but whether we see him in action on the PGA Tour as a 40-year-old looks, at the moment, very unlikely.
Tiger Woods :: Is this the end?
What is your reaction to what Tiger Woods said at his press conference? Have we witnessed his last tournament win? Leave your thoughts in the ‘Comments’ section below.